Blue Cross Blue Shield Georgia: Spotlight on Special Programs
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is focused on providing high-quality care and has developed several high-quality programs focused on providing comprehensive care and full-service support for difficult or chronic conditions.
One of the most recently expanded programs is the Breast Cancer Care Program. The diagnosis of breast cancer is devastating for many women and families, and even as cure rates rise it is still a difficult illness for women to endure. As a result, BCBS of Georgia instituted this “quality improvement program” with several goals:
4 Improving breast cancer care and providing awareness and interventions to foster conversations between patient and doctor. The goal is to create a fact-based communications system so that doctor and patient are on the same page and all women are aware of all of their options—in order to make informed decisions about ongoing care and feel more in control of their ongoing fight.
4 Improving types of treatment in line with accepted standards of care and generally recognized and approved best practices
4 Improving the level of “frontline support”—the doctors, nurses, and facilities that care for women with breast cancer and who help fight through the diagnosis and treatment.
In creating this program, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia was not working alone. Instead, two advisory board panels were formed, with the most relevant stakeholders a part of each: one, the physicians who are in the front line, and secondly, a group made up of breast cancer advocacy leaders and breast cancer survivors. These groups, who the improvements were geared toward, were thus instrumental in making a program that was actionable and relevant.
One of the most important results of the program was the creation of a series of easy-to-read, consumer friendly materials—including resource lists (of support, caregivers, and the like), educational books, checklists of questions to ask the doctor, and treatment guidelines so that patients are well aware of the options available and can research different alternatives with the facts clearly presented.
Response to the program has thus far been overwhelmingly positive and the goal is to continue to expand the reach of the initiatives developed. An effort has been underway to provide outreach to community groups – helping by providing material to membership and helping to spread fact-based research and options.
Such programs are one example of how BCBS Georgia is making a difference.